Parliamentary Question: DIRCO: Bilateral Relations




Mr LS Ngonyama (Cope) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

1.Whether her department has strengthened bilateral relations in the past ten months with any additional African country to promote two-way trade, investment, education and tourism; if not, why not; if so, (a) with which additional African countries, (b) since when and (c) what outcomes have been achieved for each country through such strengthening of bilateral relations?

(a)Angola, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, DRC, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Kenya.
(b) (i) Angola: President Zuma undertook a state visit to Angola from the 19th of August 2009 to the 21st of August 2009.
(ii) Zambia: In December 2009 President Zuma undertook a state visit to Zambia from the 7th of December 2009 to the 9th of December 2009.
(iii) Sierra Leone: In August 2009 South African Senior Officials met with their counterparts in Sierra Leone to engage in discussions to strengthen cooperation in the areas of agriculture and agro-processing, infrastructure development and health. On the 7th of March 2010 Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane held a bilateral meeting with her counterpart from Sierra Leone in Pretoria.
(iv) Ghana: The Second Session of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) between South Africa and Ghana was held from 9-11 March 2010 in Accra, Ghana.
(v) Egypt: The SA-Egypt Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC) took place from the 17th to the 19th of March 2010 in Pretoria.
(vi) Tunisia: The SA-Tunisia Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC) took place at Senior Officials level from the 29th to the 30th of March 2009 in Pretoria.
(vii) Equatorial Guinea: The Minister accompanied Pres. Zuma on his official visit to Equatorial Guinea in November 2009.
(viii) DRC: A Presidential Binational Commission (BNC) was held in October 2009 in Pretoria, South Africa.
(ix) Zimbabwe: The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between South Africa and Zimbabwe was signed on the 27th of November 2009 in Harare.
(x) Sudan: A Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) between South Africa and Sudan took place on the 23rd of February to the 25th of February 2010 in Khartoum, Sudan.
(xi) Kenya: A Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) between South and Kenya was held on the 18th of March 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa.
(c) (i) Angola: President Zuma’s first state visit to a foreign country since his inauguration in May 2009 was to Angola, from the 19th of August 2009 to the 21st of August 2009. During the state visit a number of memoranda of understanding and agreements were signed including: a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Trade Cooperation, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Industrial Cooperation, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the Field of Human Settlements, and a Bilateral Air Service Agreement.
(ii) Zambia: During President Zuma’s state visit to Zambia, a Memorandum of Understanding on Trade and Industrial Development Cooperation was signed. President Zuma also commissioned the Zambia Sugar expansion project worth R1.7 billion at Illovo Nakambala Sugar Estate. The project is a two year agricultural and factory expansion programme which has resulted in sugar production capacity increasing from more than 200,000 tones to 450,000 tones. It exports about 50 percent of its annual sugar output to South Africa and the European Union (EU). The growth of Zambia Sugar has had a positive impact on the country’s economic development through foreign exchange earnings and provision of sustainable and decent employment. It provides permanent employment for more than 3000 people and jobs for 8000 seasonal workers during peak operation periods.
(iii) Sierra Leone: South Africa has strengthened its bilateral relations with the Republic of Sierra Leone. This has been done through the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund that will fund the deployment of the Cuban Medical Brigade which will provide health care services to different regions of Sierra Leone.

During the Ministerial bilateral meeting between Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her counterpart from Sierra Leone, the Ministers decided to encourage cooperation between South Africa and Sierra Leone in areas such as: mineral beneficiation; agriculture and aquaculture; and investment in infrastructure development. The two countries also intend to conclude a Bilateral Protection and Promotion of Investments Agreement (BIPPA).
(iv) Ghana: During the Second Session of the PJCC between South Africa and Ghana the delegations agreed to increase the volume of two-way trade, and intensify cooperation in the field of education, amongst others.
(v) Egypt: The 8th Session of the SA-Egypt JBC took place in Pretoria from the 17th of March 2009 to the 19th of March 2010. Egypt agreed to start importing de-boned beef from South Africa according to the recognition of disease free zones as prescribed by the OIE. South Africa and Egypt are currently negotiating an agreement on agricultural cooperation and veterinary health services.

South Africa extended an invitation to a technical team from Egypt to finalise an agreement on cooperation in the field of education. Both sides agreed to encourage and support further cooperation between academic institutions in the two countries.

Egypt welcomed the planned visit by the Deputy Minister of Tourism to Egypt in April 2010 with a view to conclude an Executive Programme on Tourism Co-operation between the two countries for the period 2010-2012.
(vi) Tunisia: A Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC) in preparation for the 6th Session of the JBC between South Africa and Tunisia was held in Pretoria from the 29th of October 2009 to the 30th of October 2009. The delegations agreed to focus on the following areas: high-level business-to-business contact through regular meetings of the Business Forum; support for the implementation of the Agreement between the Johannesburg and Tunis Chambers of Commerce through the development of a programme of action between the two Chambers by 2010; to host business and investment seminars to expose South African and Tunisian businesses to available opportunities; and to finalise the draft agreement on economic cooperation proposed by South Africa in 2008.

Tunisia offered to train South Africans in specialised tourism sectors and expressed the desire to establish cooperation in eco-tourism and on the promotion of joint investment ventures in tourism.
(vii) Equatorial Guinea: During President Zuma’s official visit to Equatorial Guinea the two Governments agreed to launch a Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC) in 2010. The JCC agreement will focus on cooperation in security matters, trade, agriculture, fisheries, aviation, and energy.
(viii) DRC: During the BNC with the DRC, South Africa’s bilateral technical assistance to the DRC and the expansion of trade and economic links between South Africa and the DRC were discussed. The delegations agreed to encourage cooperation between the two countries’ businesses and to strengthen the joint business forum. The delegations also agreed to cooperate with each other in the areas of energy and agriculture, amongst others.
(ix) Zimbabwe: The BIPPA referred to in reply (b) (ix) makes provision for the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments between the two countries.
(x) Sudan: During the SOM between South Africa and Sudan the delegations expressed their intentions to foster cooperation in order to promote two-way trade and investments, and it was agreed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the fields of Agriculture and Health will be signed during the Ministerial Session of the JBC. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the Sudan Central Bank also agreed to explore areas of possible joint cooperation.
(xi) Kenya: During the SOM between South Africa and Kenya the delegations agreed to work towards finalising the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) and the signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement. The delegations also agreed to facilitate the establishment of a Joint Business Council between South Africa and Kenya and to encourage cooperation between the Bureau of Standards of both South Africa and Kenya to address the challenges facing the standardisation of goods.